North Surry alum give advice to students


Julie Hodges speaks to North Sury High School students while Justin Jarrell, Katlyn Hodges, Abbigail Rodriguez, Stephen Young, Kasey Meadows, Kaylee Freed, and Melissa Presley watch.


Submitted photo

Freshmen at North Surry High School listen to the panelist talk about what’s ahead of them after high school.


Submitted photo

Abby Sparks gets a chance to speak one-on-one with Justin Jarrell.


Submitted photo

Students at North Surry High School recently had the opportunity to listen to former Greyhounds discuss their academic and career paths after high school. They were also able to ask questions of the former students who were part of a panel discussion, and speak one-on-one with them after the group discussion.

Returning to North Surry to sit on the panel were Justin Jarrell, Kaylee Freed, Melissa Presley, Kasey Meadows, Stephen Young, Katlyn Hodges, Abbigail Rodriguez, and Caleb Ramey.

“I think this is beneficial because our students are able to see the perspectives of students who have graduated from North Surry and continued on in different career paths,” said Julie Hodges, college liaison and chair of the College and Career Readiness Committee at North Surry. “The panel was able to share experiences ranging from going straight into a four-year college or two-year college, transferring from a two-year to a four-year college and adults who went straight into the workforce. I hope the students were able to get answers about real life experiences that will help lead them to the career of their choice.”

“I enjoyed speaking with the students and I believe with them hearing true life experiences from past graduates on our career path gives them an insight on which path they may want to take and how to start that path,” said Justin Jarrell, who works for Surry County EMS. “I advised them to go above and beyond of what the high school was asking of them. Join clubs within the school that gives back to the community and volunteer for your community.

“Community volunteer programs make great resume builders. Choose a career that you’ll be happy with and enjoy throughout your life. At the end of the day you have to manage your money. It doesn’t matter how much money you make, if you can’t manage it. I would like to thank the staff at North Surry for the opportunity and hope to return again one day.”

“I really enjoyed being able to come back and share my experience and advice with the students,” said Melissa Presley, a 2017 North Surry graduate. “I wish I would have had someone to tell me how much was going to change once I entered college. The best advice I could give a student is to go into field they are passionate about because being passionate about the career makes the learning a little easier and the college experience better.”

Caleb Ramey enjoyed returning to his alma mater to talk to students.

“I hope pharmacy continues to grow as a profession and the only way that can happen is for young people to be exposed to what pharmacists do,” he said. “I always enjoyed when alumni would come speak when I was in school, so I thought I would give back and do the same.

“As far as my best advice, it would be to take every opportunity you can in this stage and in all stages of life. Make yourself the best applicant for an internship, job, or college that you can be. You will surprise yourself with all that you can accomplish by simply having an open mind about different opportunities. Also, the classes in high school are important. College only builds upon the information learned in high school. Specific to pharmacy, I use principles of chemistry, statistics, and biology every day when learning about a new medication or clinical trial. This stuff doesn’t go away.”

Stephen Young, a 2014 graduate, enjoyed coming back to his high school.

“It was nice to come back and share my experience with them recognizing that not everyone is built for the same path I took but for those few who do want to go off to college,” he said. “I hope they found something useful. The best advice I feel like I gave was to not wish high school away and enjoy it while you are here because it flies by and there is no going back. Make a plan now and build it for after high school while trying different things that you are interested in.”

Kasey Meadows, another graduate on the panel said, “My best advice would be that your education is something no one can ever take away from you so work hard while you are young to reach your goals as you have your whole life ahead of you. Make it a good life, do what you love and do it well.”

Julie Hodges speaks to North Sury High School students while Justin Jarrell, Katlyn Hodges, Abbigail Rodriguez, Stephen Young, Kasey Meadows, Kaylee Freed, and Melissa Presley watch.
https://www.mtairynews.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/web1_North-Surry-speaker1Final.jpgJulie Hodges speaks to North Sury High School students while Justin Jarrell, Katlyn Hodges, Abbigail Rodriguez, Stephen Young, Kasey Meadows, Kaylee Freed, and Melissa Presley watch. Submitted photo

Freshmen at North Surry High School listen to the panelist talk about what’s ahead of them after high school.
https://www.mtairynews.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/web1_speaker-3.jpgFreshmen at North Surry High School listen to the panelist talk about what’s ahead of them after high school. Submitted photo

Abby Sparks gets a chance to speak one-on-one with Justin Jarrell.
https://www.mtairynews.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/web1_North-Surry-speaker-2.jpgAbby Sparks gets a chance to speak one-on-one with Justin Jarrell. Submitted photo

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